RACINE, Ohio — Tommy Ramthun led the Southern Tornadoes to a come-from-behind 13-6 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division football win over visiting Wahama Friday evening at Roger Lee Adams Memorial Field.
Ramthun delivered two game-deciding plays in the final 5:30 minutes to turn a six-point Tornado deficit into a 13-7 gridiron victory. The senior wide receiver returned a punt 47 yards to set up a game-tying, six-yard touchdown scamper by Dylan Smith, then Ramthun hauled in a game-winning touchdown pass from Blake Johnson for the Tornadoes first win over the White Falcons since 1974.
The triumph improved Kyle Wickline’s Southern gridders to 2-1 overall and 1-0 inside the TVC Hocking, while Wahama dropped its second consecutive contest to fall to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in league action.
Although Southern drove deep into Wahama territory numerous times during the opening half, the White Falcons managed to keep the host team out of the end zone. The Tornadoes drove inside the Falcon 10-yard line on two occasions and inside the 28 on another during first half action, but the Wahama defense stiffened each time to keep Southern out of the scoring column.
Wahama suffered through offensive struggles of its own during the first two quarters, with the White Falcons managing just 54 total yards against the Southern defense in the game’s first 24 minutes.
The White Falcons drove to the Tornado 20-yard line on their first possession of the second half, but again the Southern defense rose up to turn the Falcons away without a score.
Later in the quarter the Mason County team gained the advantage when junior quarterback, Philip Hoffman, tossed a 64-yard scoring pass to Colton Arrington for the game’s first touchdown. The PAT kick was unsuccessful and Wahama enjoyed a 6-0 edge with 4:40 remaining in the third stanza.
The score remained 6-0 until midway through the final quarter when Ramthun returned a Falcon punt 47 yards to the WHS 18-yard line. A 12-yard reception from Johnson to Crenson Rogers set the stage for a six-yard, game-tying touchdown run by Dylan Smith.
Southern attempted a point after kick to gain the lead, but a bad snap thwarted the attempt and the score stood 6-6 with 5:28 remaining in the contest.
Smith picked off a Hoffman offering and returned the pigskin to the Tornado 39, where Southern set up shop. Successive runs by Smith netted 11 yards and a first down at the 45 before Johnson picked up four and Smith added another three-yard run.
A five-yard gain by Johnson set the Southern offense at the Wahama 34, where Johnson tossed a short pass to Ramthun — who broke several tackles and weaved his way into the end zone for the game winning score. Ramthun added the PAT kick to make it a 13-6 contest with 2:06 remaining.
Wahama drove to midfield following the ensuing kick, but could get no farther as the Southern defense recorded a pair of sacks to come away with its first grid victory over Wahama in 41 years.
The Tornadoes finished with 16 first downs, 129 yards rushing and 115 yards through the air for a net offensive total of 244 yards. Smith picked up 66 yards in 17 carries to pace Southern on the ground, with Kody Greene netting 39 yards in 10 tries.
Blake Johnson connected on 11-of-17 aerials for 115 yards and a touchdown, with Ranthum grabbing four passes for 63 yards and a score. Clayton Wood also had four catches for 30 yards and Crenson Rogers added two receptions for 22 yards.
Wahama was limited to 10 first downs and only 77 rushing yards. The White Falcons tallied 149 yards through the air for a net total of 226 yards offensively.
Colton Arrington paced the Bend Area teams ground attack with a game high 74 yards rushing. Hoffman completed 10-of-20 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, with one of his aerials being picked off. Jared Nutter hauled in seven passes for 84 yards, while Arrington caught one pass for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Southern returns to action next Friday when it travels to Miller for a TVC Hocking Division affair, while Wahama attempts to bring an end to its two-game losing skid with a league encounter at Belpre. Both contests will kick-off at 7:30 p.m.
Gary Clark is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.